Don’t try to give buyers your contact details in eBay Messages

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We’re hearing an increasing number of eBay sellers getting hit with violations for directing buyers to their contact details in listings. As you should be aware of by now, eBay are going to insist that your contact details are removed from listing templates in the Autumn and also hide your Business Seller Information a couple of clicks from listings.

What appears to be happening at the moment is that eBay are cracking down on signposting your contact information in eBay Messages. We reported this just a few days ago and sellers being suspended for asking buyers to “Resend it to the [email] address in the description of the item”. eBay are translating this to be an abuse of their ‘Offers to buy or sell outside of eBay’ policy.

The text of the email

As a result, your eBay buying and selling privileges have been restricted for 7 days, which also restricts you from sending or receiving messages with eBay members unless you have had a recent eBay transaction with that member. You may also be subject to a range of actions including changes to Seller Standards rating, application of fees, some or all of your listings ended or not being displayed in eBay search results, listing fees not being refunded for non-displayed listings, and restrictions on account features.

Once the 7 days have passed, your account will automatically be reinstated, including full use of messaging and listing search page exposure. However, if you are currently an eTRS member, your status will be downgraded and re-evaluated upon the next monthly review cycle. Please keep in mind that if you don’t follow this policy in future, your account(s) could be suspended, and you may be assessed a fee.

We are only too aware here at Tamebay that at times eBay’s messaging system simply isn’t up to scratch – when selling custom made items for which you need contact information (e.g. to print business cards) or images for personalising items. Sadly we don’t have a solution for you but our best advice is not to attempt to circumvent eBay’s prohibition on including contact information in eBay Messages.

Getting a selling restriction, your listings ended or hidden in search and losing eTRS won’t help the situation and will simply cut your income off.

41 Responses

  1. Yes, I am one of the first victim 🙁

    I asked the customer to provide me with an email address so I can send him an invoice ( Only way I know after payment is complete ) and because we did similar violation a few weeks back they suspended the account. Here is the message I received from eBay;

    We’ve reviewed your eBay account and determined that you’re still not following our offers to buy or sell outside of eBay policy. As a result, your account has been suspended. You won’t be able to use eBay in any way. This includes using another existing account or registering a new account.

    Offers to buy or sell off eBay, including providing contact information within a member to member message, aren’t allowed.

    You provided or requested contact information prior to checkout or arranged to take the transaction off eBay.

    Violating Text: I certainly can do this for you but would you kindly provide an email address that I can send the invoice to? Also, a company name for the receipt if possible.

    After several hours of phone call and online chat I have the account reinstated but all my listings were removed means; I lost all my best match advantage and sold quantity plus days of work to check several thousand products quantity while relisting items back from unsold product page 🙁

    Hey, admin if my situation has a news value please share it so other sellers won’t suffer unfairly as I did 🙁

  2. The only reason we ever do this is for buyers who are EU VAT registered so that we can draw them up an invoice where they are not charged VAT. We asked eBay fro advice on how we can do this through eBay and we were told

    “In this situation, buyer will need to contact their local authorities to know how to reclaim the VAT amount which they have paid to you.”

    and also

    “As on eBay, when seller mentions the item price, it is flat for all the buyers and sellers cannot change it for a particular buyer, unless they refund the partial amount after the payment is done from the buyer.”

    When questioned on the latter that it would mean we pay VAT to HMRC and also then refund that same amount to the customer we were given the response

    “I have checked with my Manager and as this is the case, the best thing to do is getting in touch with the tax experts and take advise from them. As we are not the tax experts, we would not be able to provide exact resolution for this and I do not want to share any incorrect information which may impact your financially.”

    How does everyone else deal with EU VAT Registered buyers through eBay other than taking them outside?

  3. We’ve had this happen 3 times now, all unfairly as we weren’t trying to complete sales off ebay. One of the suspensions was because we gave them a mobile number to call a courier for a quote before the buyer committed to purchase. We sell furniture and people often want to view items beforehand, ebay should offer an option where you can mark the item has sold yourself.

  4. Another victim here.
    had a warning in May (which we missed – got lost somewhere in our ebay messages – obviously it wouldn’t be put in the ‘priority folder’ because that would be too easy). like a previous poster we had an Italian buyer who needed a vat-less invoice – one of our advisers spelt out our email address.

    then in June, a 7-day ban on all buyer communications was on us. this time a customer asked if he could collect from our shop and pay cash, to which we replied yes. duh

    and now (coincidentally) this week, one of my team replied ‘can you email us’. she needed to create a multiple item invoice with combined shipping and discounts, going overseas. another 7-day ban but this time it’s hit sales also.

    i tried to appeal but it was in vain really.

    with ebay, you’re dealing with robots, not humans, so no point looking for any sympathy/empathy/goodwill – it’s all binary.

    after years selling on ebay I’ve realised we cannot put any weight on ebay as a platform as it can/will fail beneath your feet at anytime. Once you accept this you find peace and realise there’s no point living in fear. Just have to make sure you have backup when your ebay ship sinks…

    for now we’ll hopefully be back up and running after the 7 days, but for how long after that? God only knows. the way things are going i’m not hopeful.

  5. I’ll add another flavour to this mess. We have been “limited” because we had our contact details in the email signature of our main email account.
    So the customer is emailing us to ask some technical details, we reply with the details (not a single word about selling outside ebay or anything) and our account is limited because of the details in the signature.

    To add to the insult, the buyer can see the very same details in the listing, under “Buyer information”. Still, ebay support (what a joke !!) believes that it’s normal that ebay can show the details but we are not permitted to show the same details.

    Hello Ebay, anyone at home ??

  6. The contact details of all EU based eBay Business Sellers are in the public domain.

    There is no reason at all why these contact details cannot be collected by a third party and published against eBay user names.

    I am sure that eBay will eventually make someone angry enough to do just that.

  7. JD Sounds an excellent idea.
    Are ebay going to force all those sellers whose user name is same as their trading name to change their user names ? It will soon be impossible to sell anything bulky , unique or needs seeing before buying.
    Time is rapidly approaching for the launch of a joint venture by UK sellers to challenge ebay management.

  8. I sold a chair and had to send my buyer a mobile number in case they got lost on the way and needed to ring me. I was banned from sending it. This is not good business service.

  9. Being a UK seller the biggest issue we have with this change is that we sell used car parts, 50% of our customer base are not English and English is not their first language, we find half of them have trouble reading and understanding the listings and they always call us to confirm any information before purchasing, i can see that this is going to effect our business massively.

    On top of this whoever made this decision at Ebay is an idiot, it is clearly all about the fact they are losing money, but this is due to previous irrational decisions, you only needed to look at the forum on release of the star system to see how many big customers they lost previously, and before that more revamps which lead to the shedding of large amount of customers, this decision is a step backwards, we are going back to the dark ages, they only have themselves and their horrendously stupid boardroom to blame for their current state.

  10. In my experience, it is usually the buyer wanting to take things off ebay, thinking if they do, they’ll get a better price.

    But I bet they won’t ban a buyer!

  11. Very interesting comments here. I was just about to contact 2 of my buyers (I’m only a personal occasional seller, just sold 4 items) to give them the landline number of the person who has the items (furniture) for collection. Wonder if that’ll get through?

    The obvious question is, why hasn’t someone setup a decent rival site yet? What about a UK company for once? BritBay anyone?

  12. ebay are having to take this action because so many sellers were trying to complete the sale “off site”. At one point some sellers were even promoting it on here so that ebay did not get their fee.

    It has always been a policy breech and was (and i think still is) called “circumvention of ebay fees” and if too many people do it we would not have a platform to sell on.

    ebay have had to take these measures to protect their business. The sellers trying to circumvent the fees have kinda forced ebays hand on this. Blame them – not ebay.

  13. AP has a fair point but Paul’s comment re buying items like classic cars is very valid. I suspect Ebay will lose far more in sales fees and commissions on sales of classic and ordinary cars, classic car parts, job lots, antiques etc where buyers need to get more info or see the item, than they will gain through trying to stop off site sales.
    Do these new rules apply to non business sellers as I am seeing new listings still containing contact details?
    If I want to sell a joblot of car spares or one of my classic cars how can the buyer now get my address or phone number to arrange to see the item?

  14. yes its hard enough to make a few pounds on ebay yes they favour the buyer instantly when seller suffers for weeks haveing paypal account on hold for refund money which can easily be transferd if needed .ebay makes 530 million and a lot more buy we make next to nothing
    who can justify paying correct postage then ebay takeing money off that as well punter looses more money . ebay more profits

  15. We also have experienced this. It seems eBay is being very strict for sharing contact details (email address, contact number, mailing address).

    At first, we were restricted for 1 week for asking a customer for his contact number to help him regarding the installation of the blind he bought from us.

    The next time, we were suspended for asking for a customer’s address as he was asking for a sample fabric of the blind he wanted to purchase from us. We were reinstated after we contacted support explaining that we only intend to send the sample so that the customer can make the buying decision and also to let him see the colours of the blind fabric so he can select which one to purchase.

    Although we were reinstated, eBay had deleted our listings from their catalog and we were not able to relist them. We intended to relist all our listings so the listing ranking is retained but we could not do that because the listings we had were all deleted and they could not restore them back.

    Now we are stuck with how we can go back up the rankings as our listings were quite old with years of built-up rankings.

  16. were a little smug about all this
    for the best part of 20 years we have made is difficult as we possibly can for ebay
    buyers to contact
    we dont like
    the nutters and perverts ringing and mailing

  17. Well that might have been the case in the past to “sell and forget” but times are changing and (as eBay reminds us time and time again) Customer Service is essential to ensure a proper buying experience. And then they go and limit the manner in which we can help buyers to make conscious decisions to buy -> pay eBay their fees. Wonder when someone at eBay wakes up in the morning and realizes “Sh*t, that’s the wrong way to go about it. More contact, more sales, more fees.” I absolutely get that there is a bunch of people both sellers and buyers that want to “circumvent fees” but IMHO the more and more restrictions they place on sellers will eventually result in them going off eBay anyhow and either selling on other channels or their own websites.
    I did hear a rumor that it’s OK to exchange details after the purchase was made, could any one confirm that?

  18. It may be interesting for you all to know that ebay have told us that we’re not allowed our business name within our logo on our listings.. That counts as contact info.. apparently

  19. The ebay managing team should move to North Korea, their approach belong to that place…

  20. I was just thinking on how much I’m worth to ebay -despite my fees (below) i’m worth nothing.

    Thanks for your business and for choosing eBay. Your eBay invoice for the period from 01 July 2017 through 31 July 2017 is now available to view in any web browser.

    On mobile devices, you’ll see a summary of your invoice.

    Total invoice amount due: £15,089.04

    My Level of Satifisfaction (as a “valued customer”)?

    Because no one from eBay values or cares for my account or my business.

    If my £180,000 of annual business went to zero tomorrow, i don’t think anybody at ebay would know, let alone care.

    Or am I being too emotional?

  21. I have been selling on eBay for nearly 16 years, and it just gets harder and harder to sell at a profit, in fact I am using eBay less and less. My biggest gripe is the returns policy, it ties your money up for weeks, eBay ALWAYS come out on the seller’s side, when I am the eBay customer and pay them! People return items with bits missing etc. And eBay still give a refund!
    I for one would be happy to NEVER use eBay again!

  22. This is all about attitude
    We view eBay as a tool
    Like any tool the skill of the user defines the quality of the finished result
    to quote an old saying
    It’s a bad workman who blames his tools
    we know what eBay is ,we know we’re on our own . If eBay fails to work we will either change the blade, or use another tool

  23. Just banned today for replying to a customer who wanted combined shipping, plus wanted an additional item not on Ebay but on my website….7 days is going to be hard but means I’m now going to focus on my website.

    My existing listings are active and still in the search so think maybe they have eased up a bit.

    We have never needed a competitor to Ebay as much as we do now….!

  24. A secret: the advertised listing (paid to ebay) are NOT affected by the ban, they will still appear on ebay search.

  25. Hello
    Yes the Promote your listings page under the Marketing tools. The ones that you select the listings and then you set a % from the price as promotional cost.


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